iD | Auckland Arts Festival

Cirque Eloize’s iD is an explosive – gone are the days of ringed arenas and big tops, sad animals and tinny music. This is circus at its most modern complete with international performers who excel in circus arts, hip hop and B-boying, in-line skating and bike work.

Jeannot Painchaud is both president and co-founder of Cirque Eloize and under his masterful direction, 15 artists showcase 10 circus disciplines in under two hours.

Aerial acrobatics, impressive Cyr Wheel and Chinese Pole work, contortion, juggling and extraordinary feats of strength come in quick and dizzying bouts; it’s clear there is no shortage of awe and wonder under the stars of the Civic theatre.

Set in a concrete playground, the narrative itself is loose: two young groups fighting casually for their own turf and coming together every now and then to have a few heated dance-offs.

Fast forward West Side Story to include electronica, rollerblading and the latest technology to create some awe inspiring graffiti projections and voila! You have iD.

The combination of circus, rollerblading and dance also allows for a genuinely unique experience. The circus acts tend to outshine the rest of the choreography but the feats by the ensemble of 11 men and four women are unparalleled.

Robert Massicotte’s set design and video images (co-designed with Alexis Laurence) are nothing short of brilliant and his almost apocalyptic city easily recreates the world of comics and graphic novels in a pulsating hi-tech world.

Similarly, Nicolas Descoteaux’s lighting also contributes to the gritty urban landscape and serves to accelerate the excitement and tension.

The highlight of the night is unequivocally the trampoline-wall. The male performers literally fly through the air from a projected building, plummet towards the earth and leap back up as gracefully as if they were about to invite someone to dance.

It is both the perfect heart-stopping spectacle to close the show, and possibly, just enough motivation to have a bounce on the old trampoline when no one is looking.